CAIRO -- Amid deadly protests in Iraq, a people's uprising in Lebanon and continued suffering in Syria, Catholic leaders of the Middle East called upon officials of their homelands to "ensure safety, peace and tranquility and stability for their citizens."

Published in International

VATICAN CITY-- Pope Francis said he was concerned and saddened following two months of protests in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.

"I pray for the dead and the wounded; I am close to their families and to the entire people of Iraq, calling upon God for peace and harmony," the pope said Dec. 1 after praying the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The pope's remarks came nearly four days after Iraqi security forces fired on unarmed protesters, leading to the deaths of 25 people and the wounding of dozens more, according to Amnesty International.

Since the protests began Oct. 1, an estimated 400 demonstrators have been killed. Protesters have expressed anger at government authorities for widespread financial mismanagement, corruption and increasing poverty in the country.

The protests resulted in the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi Dec. 1 and for calls by international observers for investigations into the killing of protesters.

Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sako, Chaldean Catholic patriarch, expressed his "solidarity with Iraqi Shias and Sunnis" and his concern for those who died or were wounded in the protests, said a statement on the patriarchate's website. He asked all Catholics to pray for the country at Masses Dec. 1.

Cardinal Sako, in the statement posted Nov. 30, said he hoped that "the blood that has been shed as a price" for a free, dignified and secure life in Iraq, will be the seeds of an effort "to build a homeland of justice and independence, in which no one would be oppressed or treated unfairly."

Published in Reflections

A fresh outbreak of violence across Iraq is preventing the Chaldean Archbishop of Iraq from visiting Canada. 

Published in Canada

VATICAN CITY -- In the wake of deadly protests in Iraq, Pope Francis called on the people and their leaders to take the path of dialogue to find answers to their nation's problems.

Published in Faith

AMMAN, Jordan -- When Rifaa, her husband and three daughters escaped into Iraq in the dead of night, "there were dead bodies on the street" in Qamishli, Syria.

Published in International

WASHINGTON -- Iraqi Christians face "extinction" unless Islam recognizes the fundamental equality of all people and takes steps to overcome violent factions that seek to force religious minorities from the country, said Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil.

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WASHINGTON -- Chaldean Christians in northern Iraq are determined to continue their 2,000-year-long mission despite the near-deadly blow inflicted by Islamic State forces and new challenges from nongovernment militias, said a priest ministering in the region.

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DOHUK, Iraq -- Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Cardinal Louis Sako is concerned by rising tensions between the United States and Iran, fearful that his country, Iraq, could be caught in the middle of any potential conflict. It has also made a proposed visit by Pope Francis to Iraq next year uncertain, he said.

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BEIRUT -- Syriac Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Nizar Semaan begins his new mission in Iraq with hope "that Christianity will flourish again" in his homeland.

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MOSUL, Iraq (CNS) -- Christians are cautiously returning to Mosul, the once-bustling Iraqi city that for three years was the capital of the caliphate established by the Islamic State group.
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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has signed into law the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018, which will provide humanitarian relief to genocide victims in Iraq and Syria and hold accountable Islamic State perpetrators of genocide.
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SAN DIEGO – Catholic leaders of the Middle East cautioned that the very existence of Christians in the region is threatened, but their faithful continue “to bear witness to the Lord Jesus amid a turbulent world interrupted by mighty waves.”

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LONDON – The heir to the British throne spoke of how he was deeply moved by the testimony of an Iraqi sister who fled Islamic State militants but has returned to the Ninevah Plain to help re-establish the Christian presence.
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LONDON – The threat to religious freedom from Muslim fundamentalists is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon following the military defeat of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said a new report.
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Leading by example is rarely easy but neither is it a grim, joyless task — at least not for Canada’s Chaldean Bishop Bawai Soro. 

Published in International